About Us

The Common Ground Media Lab is the research and technology arm of Common Ground Research Networks. Common Ground Research Networks has been researching knowledge ecologies and building scholarly communication technologies since 1984.
Since 2009, we have had the fortune of being based in the University of Illinois Research Park while building our latest platform – CGScholar. This is a suite of apps based on the theoretical work of world-renowned scholars from the College of Education and Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. CGScholar has been built with the support of funding from the US Department of Education, Illinois Ventures, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
The CGScholar platform is being used today by knowledge workers as diverse as: faculty in universities to deliver e-learning experiences; innovative schools wishing to challenge the ways learning and assessment have traditionally worked; and government and non-government organizations connecting local knowledge and experience to wider policy objectives and measurable outcomes. Each of these use cases illustrates the differing of knowledge that CGScholar serves while also opening spaces for new and emerging voices in the world of scholarly communication.
We aim to synthesize these use cases to build a platform that can become a trusted marketplace for knowledge work, one that rigorously democratizes the process of knowledge-making, rewards participants, and offers a secure basis for the sustainable creation and distribution of digital knowledge artifacts.
Our premise has been that media platforms—pre-digital and now also digital—have often not been designed to structure and facilitate a rigorous, democratic, and a sustainable knowledge economy. The Common Ground Media Lab seeks to leverage our own platform – CGScholar – to explore alternatives based on extended dialogue, reflexive feedback, and formal knowledge ontologies. We are developing AI-informed measures of knowledge artifacts, knowledge actors, and digital knowledge communities. We aim to build a trusted marketplace for knowledge work, that rewards participants and sustains knowledge production.
With 27,000 published works and 200,000 users, we have come a long way since our first web app twenty years ago. But we still only see this as the beginning.
As a not-for-profit, we are fundamentally guided by mission: to support the building of better societies and informed citizenries through rigorous and inclusive social knowledge practices, offering in-person and online scholarly communication spaces.